CLEVELAND: The public might have forgotten Sina King, a forward for the University of Akron women’s basketball team, but her coach and teammates certainly have not.
King was very much part of the postgame celebration that took place at center court and the nets, beaming alongside her teammates.
Despite sitting out the season with a blood clot, King earned the right to celebrate. The senior’s presence has been as important as that of seniors Rachel Tecca, Hanna Luburgh and Kacie Cassell.
“Right now, I’m just so proud of our seniors,” King said. “I feel like they’re my seniors. I’ve been with them here for four years and I’m just kind of enjoying the moment and I haven’t really thought about next year other than we’re going to be back here and we’re going to be doing the same things.”
Coach Jodi Kest made sure to mention King in her postgame news conference. She said her team had been cheering for Dan Peters, the men’s team director of basketball operations, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier in the season.
“But we also rallied around Sina King,” Kest said. “People are forgetting about Sina. What she went through this year was really hard and for her to continue to work hard every day and support our team — we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the way she handled this situation.”
King was ecstatic for her teammates.
“I’m part of it — a different part. Just a cheerleader. I’m happy for us, for me for everyone. It’s just a great feeling,” King said.
King is likely to return next year to a young squad that will need her veteran leadership.
Three Zips — Tecca, Cassell and Luburgh — made the all-MAC Tournament team. Tecca earned the tournament most valuable player award based on a double-double of 30 points and 12 rebounds.
The argument could have been made to give Luburgh the award. In the first two games UA played in the tournament she averaged 28 points.
“It was an awesome tournament all around,” she said. “Today I didn’t have my best day [six points, four rebounds], but overall I think it was a great tournament and I couldn’t be more proud of everybody.”
Did it cost her MVP?
“I think probably today’s game cost me it. I’ve got this [all-tournament award],” she said. “I got the championship and we’re going dancing, so that’s all that matters.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.